An independent commission, chaired by Baroness Finlay, has concluded that more of the most talented doctors must be encouraged to make careers as generalists rather than specialists to meet people’s changing health needs.

The Commission was set up by the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Health Foundation to examine the state of general medicine. It had the following terms of reference:

  • Define medical generalism, with particular reference to general practice;
  • Explore the intrinsic values of medical generalism;
  • Define the role and value of medical generalism in contemporary clinical practice.
  • Formulate a description of the medical generalist that:
  • Is widely recognised
  • Defines what patients and the public should be able to expect
  • Clarifies how the medical generalist interfaces with other health care professionals
  • Make recommendations about the future development of medical generalism.

Understanding and developing the role of the generalist alongside specialists is important for the quality of patient care, particularly ensuring the health service provides patient centred care and supports people with co-morbidities well.

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